A Tug of War Over Window Covering Safety: A Tale of Courts, Cords, and Concerns

The Epic Battle Begins

It was a tense day on September 12, 2023. A landmark judgment was about to be delivered that could reshape the future of window coverings in our homes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had to decide on a crucial issue: Was the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) rule on custom window coverings truly in the best interest of consumers?

WCMA’s Fight for Justice

The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA), an association that sounds out the voice of the window covering industry, believed the CPSC’s rule was more hurtful than helpful. Their lawsuit, which began on November 30, 2022, argued that this rule didn’t do much for child safety. They pointed out that since a voluntary safety standard was introduced, incidents had dropped significantly.

WCMA’s bone of contention wasn’t just the rule’s effectiveness. They felt blindsided. Why? Because the CPSC didn’t give everyone a chance to discuss the data behind this rule. Moreover, WCMA believed that the rule’s cost-benefit analysis was flawed and could hurt the flourishing window-covering industry.

The Court’s Verdict

On that fateful September day, the court sided with the WCMA. It agreed that the CPSC had been hasty, possibly overlooking the negative impact on the industry and selecting an arbitrary date for the rule to come into effect. In a unanimous decision, they sent the rule back to the CPSC for reconsideration.

A Win, But With Responsibility

Now, this doesn’t mean window coverings will be unsafe. On the contrary, the industry will still follow a voluntary safety standard known as ANSI/WCMA A100.1. The most recent version of this standard from 2022, which is set to become mandatory for the industry by June 1, 2024, has some stringent requirements. Most window covering products in the U.S. will either have to be cordless or have very short cords. This move ensures that long, free-hanging cords – a safety concern for many – become a thing of the past.

Reflecting on the Past

It’s essential to remember that the industry’s voluntary standards have been remarkably effective in reducing accidents and improving product safety. Many in the industry view compliance as non-negotiable. And the CPSC itself admitted that most companies were following the guidelines. Yet, the CPSC still felt the need to introduce a mandatory rule, bypassing the usual procedures.

The Future of Window Coverings

This tale isn’t just about window coverings, but the intricate dance between safety, business interests, and the law. The story ends for now, but the window-covering industry is committed to blending style, innovation, and above all, safety for consumers.

For those keen on delving deeper into this legal battle, the case is referenced as D.C. Cir. No. 22-1300. The complete court opinion can be accessed here.

A Glimpse at WCMA

For the uninitiated, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) stands tall representing the myriad interests of those in the window-covering world, from blinds and shades to curtains and drapes.

Window Coverings in a New Light: What the Recent Court Ruling Means for You

Hello dear homeowners and renters,

You may have recently caught wind of the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision concerning the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s rule on window coverings. Let’s unravel what this means for you, the consumer, and how you can continue making informed decisions about your window treatments.

Unveiling the Ruling

First things first, the court decided that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) rule on custom window coverings wasn’t up to par. This decision came after the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) pointed out some gaps in the rule’s formulation.

The Do’s: Navigating the Post-Ruling Landscape

  1. Stay Informed: Understand that while the CPSC’s rule was vacated, the industry’s voluntary safety standard still holds. Look for products compliant with ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2022.
  2. Prioritize Safety: The main concern has always been child safety. Opt for window treatments that have short or inaccessible cords, or even better, go cordless.
  3. Ask for Clarification: When shopping, inquire if the products adhere to the 2022 safety standard, especially if you’re purchasing custom window coverings.
  4. Review Existing Coverings: If you have window treatments installed before these discussions, assess their safety, especially if there are young children in your household.

The Don’ts: Staying Clear of Pitfalls

  1. Don’t Panic: While the court ruling sounds significant, remember that the industry’s voluntary standards have been effective. This is about refining, not overhauling.
  2. Avoid Being Complacent: Even if incidents have reportedly declined, one accident is one too many. Always prioritize safety.
  3. Don’t Overlook Expert Advice: Whether you’re shopping at blindandscreen.com or elsewhere, lean on experts to understand the safest and most stylish options for your space.

A Heartfelt Note to Our Customers

Dear Valued Shopper,

Recent changes in the window coverings industry might raise some eyebrows, but here at blindandscreen.com, we remain committed to your safety and satisfaction. We’re here to guide and update you, ensuring your home remains both elegant and secure. Your trust, as always, is our top priority.

Warm wishes,
Your blindandscreen.com Family

Download court opinion.

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